Antiheroine Chic

Cable's new women can be as good--and bad--as the men

Frank Ockenfels / TNT

Holly Hunter in the television show Saving Grace.

You could organize the history of TV dramas into B.T. and A.T.: Before Tony and After Tony. Before The Sopranos, TV drama was mainly divided between good guys and bad guys (with the odd exception like NYPD Blue's Andy Sipowicz). Tony Soprano and his followers on HBO, FX and elsewhere showed that audiences would follow villains with sympathetic qualities and heroes with addictive, self-destructive personalities. Move over, good guys and bad guys, these dramas said. Make room for the good-bad guy.

The operative word, however, was guy. Like many revolutions, this one liberated the men first. The shows focused on male...

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